The History of Abstract Art

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Abstract art is different from other forms of art, because it expresses a place or emotion, rather than realistically portraying it. Abstract art is often synonymous with expressionist art, because it takes a place or person, and either simplifies it to the point that it can contain a single color or shape, or exaggerates it to the point where you know that it is based off of a real figure, but can't exactly distinguish what the exact features of that figure are.
The main form of art leading up to abstract art was impressionism. Impressionist artists blurred the lines between realism and expressionism, but didn't take it too far. Most of the time, the items or persons featured in impressionism were still identifiable, like in Monet's lily pads and Van Gogh's sunflowers. This form of art was closely tied with romanticism.
In the end of the 19th century, towards the beginning of the 1900s, some artists didn't feel like impressionist artists were making enough impact. Per artists such as Pablo Picasso, art was more about expressing strong emotions, using very bold and unique shapes and colors. Though Picasso's work is considered abstract, he was actually a cubist artist. Cubism is a form of abstract art that showed nature, animals and humans in exact geometric shapes, such as the cone and the cube.
Many abstractionist artists defy categorization, however. Georgia O'Keefe, for example, used expressionist art and abstraction to paint flowers as symbols of feminine sexuality, a bold statement for a woman who was barely just given the right to vote.
Abstract and expressionist art are still alive and thriving today, in art galleries all over the world. They are still popular because of their raw emotional power, the interesting uses of color and texture and shape that go into each piece, and the history that has brought us to this state in the world of truly masterful art.

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